Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Arbitration, Collective Action

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA pits two co-equal federal statutes head-to-head. The Federal Arbitration Act mandates that all arbitration clauses be enforced. The National Labor Relations Act grants employees the right to act collectively to bring claims against employers. The Supreme Court must decide whether arbitration clauses in employment contracts, which require employees to arbitrate work-related disputes on an individual basis, contravene the interests of the NLRA. This commentary argues that the Supreme Court should recognize how these arbitration clauses undermine and subvert the protections of the NLRA by disallowing employees to act collectively. By invoking the saving clause in the FAA, which provides an escape hatch to mandatory enforcement, the Court may maintain the equal force of both statutes. In doing so, the Court may protect the interests of employees who would otherwise have no recourse to seek justice for themselves on a collective basis in the workplace.